Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee—Didi who knows the art of winning hearts

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Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is one of the most popular Chief Ministers of  India having hardly any challenge to her rule as opposition of Left parties, Congress and the  BJP are far below in the popularity graph. In the last general elections in 2016, she won 211 seats out of 293 seats that went to polls. In the civic polls  last month, her party Trimool Congress maintained and won more than two-third civic bodies. The emerging BJP was far behind with second position. It is a matter  of great anguish for Left parties that ruled  the state for three decades. The BJP is making every effort and picking communal issues for gaining ground.

Mamata  Banerjee is perhaps one of  the  most experienced politicians  in the country. She is a graduate of History and Law besides having a degree in education. After the  college union activities, she began  her political career with the  Congress Party and  held many important state posts. She became one  of India’s youngest parliamentarians when she defeated the veteran communist leader Somnath  Chatterjee. She joined Union cabinet when P V Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister, but  she protested against  the government  when her proposal to promote the sports was rejected. The rebel  in  her had always  been alive  and at last forced her to leave the Congress to found her own  party Trinamool Congress. She joined the NDA  government under Atal Behari  Vajpayee  and was given railways portfolio. She again became the railways minister under the UPA  government also. As a railways minister she introduced many  new trains and brought many administrative reforms.

She resigned the NDA in 2001 when Tehelka.com exposed the corruption in defence dealings, but rejoined the government in January 2004 and held the coal and mines portfolio. In 2004,  she was the only Trinamool Congress member to win a Parliamentary seat from West Bengal. In 2005, she protested the forceful land acquisition and atrocities against the farmers. She also protested when the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government gave a farmland to an Indonesian  company which promised huge investment in West Bengal. In 2006, Banerjee was stopped on her way to Singur where she was going to participate in a rally against Tata Motor car project. Instead she protested at the West Bengal assembly. Her party MLAs went on rampage in the assembly. A major strike call was also given against this project. Here also the government acquired framers land for Tata Motors. Then came the Nandigram firing in which 14 protesting farmers were killed and more than 70 were injured. The West Bengal government under  Special Economic Zone allotted 10,000 acres of land to an Indonesian based company. Mamata Banerjee was in the forefront to support the cause of farmers. This was a turning point for her to  gain popularity in the state as a champion of the farmers. The  grass root support of the Left parties government was on the decline.

As an alliance partner of the UPA government, she wrote a letter to the Prime  Minister Manmohan  Singh to stop what she called a state sponsored violence promoted by the CPM. In the wake of this incident, the assembly elections to the West Bengal assembly were held in 2011. The Trinamool Congress dethroned the 34-year-rule of the  Left parties in the state.  The Trinamool  Congress won 184 seats and its alliance partner Congress won 42 seats. She was sworn in as the  first woman Chief Minister of the state. She brought many reforms in education, health sector and police establishment. The total area of Kolkata Municipal Corporation was brought under the control of Kolkata Police. It was  to her credit that in 2012, Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda  Gates Foundation sent a letter to  the  West Bengal government praising Banerjee and  her administration for achieving a full year without any reported case of  polio.  The letter said this was not only a milestone for India but for the whole world. In 2016, she started her second term for  which her party fought elections without alliance.

She is supporting the opposition parties which are trying to form  an alliance against the BJP. She participated in the grand rally organized by Lalu Prasad Yadav. She is diametrically  opposed to the Hindutva policies of the BJP and Prime Minister usually becomes her target.

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